Small but mighty: how smaller creative agencies’ strengths are useful in tough economic times.
Now is the ideal time to re-consider the advantages of the new breed of small but smart and mighty creative agencies.
Though timeless, the search for better value becomes an even sharper focus when economic times are tough. Which makes now the ideal time to re-consider the advantages of the new breed of small but smart and mighty creative agencies now emerging.
Whether you’re drawn by the notion of a leaner outfit built around a more agile blueprint to doing business or driven by frustration with the bulk and bureaucracy of bigger players, when you opt for a potent, concentrated shot of creativity and there is much you gain.
For a start, you get to work with smart senior people.
Most smaller agencies are started and led by smart people who either got pissed off about how broken the advertising industry is or who wanted to get back to making real work themselves.
They are likely to have years of experience working alongside some of the biggest brands in the world, too.
So, you get unlimited access to some of the most entrepreneurial and senior people from the industry who usually have something to prove — working hard at being the very best they can be on your behalf.
Next, new and different models let you tap into talent in new ways.
Post Covid, there was a huge flood of senior creative people leaving the fortresses of the everything-under-one-roof big agency networks. The creative work-life balance they’d craved all their careers was now open to them.
The freedom to work from somewhere that inspires you (motivational quotes stuck to a wall in an open plan ‘office’ anyone?) and give your brain the ability to work when it’s at its best genuinely produces better work.
And smaller, leaner creative shops with the ability to adapt quickly and work to a more open structure snapped them, and their considerable talent, up. For a client, that means you’re getting the right people, in the right headspace, on your work.
One of the big shockers for me once I reached board level in the networks was just how little of a client’s money was spent on creative — possibly a touch naïve, I know. In one case I saw, it was lower than 20%.
The lack of physical infrastructure needed by leaner agencies, coupled with none of the agency garnish – such as espresso makers, bean bags, ping-pong and agency bars – obviously comes at a lower overhead.
So, more of your budget goes directly into the work that’s solving your creative challenges.
Next, there’s agility.
The bureaucracy and hierarchy of bigger agencies shouldn’t slow down your work — but it does. Going through the right channels and making sure everyone has signed off takes time. Lots of it that you pay for.
However smaller agencies offer deeper collaboration and connection with the people doing your work. Easy access to the right people, ability to plug-in and out when needed at the level that’s needed gives you the ability to keep ahead.
Finally, with bums on seats nine-to-five now (almost) a concept from another era, the pandemic really levelled the field between large and small agencies as relationships work between people, wherever they are based.
Smaller agencies can quickly tap into the best global pools of talent and get them on your work.
This post was originally written for Little Black Book.